13 - Reviewing the administration of domestic regulation in WTO and investment law: the international minimum standard as ‘one standard to rule them all’?  pp. 298-329

Reviewing the administration of domestic regulation in WTO and investment law: the international minimum standard as ‘one standard to rule them all’?

By Anastasios Gourgourinis

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Introduction

This study seeks to demonstrate how essentially the same minimum standards of treatment protecting foreign traders/investors are established by the World Trade Organization (WTO) multilateral trade regime, on the one hand, and international investment law, which comprises the web of international investment agreements (IIAs), as well as Free-Trade Agreements containing provisions on investment, on the other. While trade and investment, indeed, constitute distinct regimes, with different goals, processes, actors and institutional mechanisms, both provide for international adjudication with regard to the review of domestic governmental practices. It will be analysed herein how WTO and IIA provisions on standards of ‘fair and equitable treatment’, for foreign traders/investors with regard to the administration of domestic regulation, interact under the influence of the international minimum standard: ‘one standard to rule them all’. In other words, whether on the basis of the same or similar facts norms derived from different regimes lead to the same or similar juridical consequences, thus leading to a certain degree of regime harmonisation via harmonised arrangements. A study juxtaposing national treatment provisions in trade and investment concluded that ‘investors cannot assume that they will prevail on a national treatment claim before an investment tribunal even if their country has earlier prevailed on the same claim at the WTO, and vice versa’. However, it is submitted here that the juxtaposition of equitable treatment provisions in WTO law and IIAs leads to the opposite conclusion, so that the same set of facts regarding the administration of domestic regulation can give rise to successful challenges brought before either the WTO or investment arbitration tribunals.

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